The Finance Committee of the District 65 School Board decided to recommend bids for work on six school buildings totaling $7.1 million at its April 13 meeting. Additional amounts for a construction manager and architectural fees bring the total estimated costs to about $8.3 million, said Mary Brown, chief financial officer for the District.
The work is the third phase of life/safety and building work that began in the summer of 2007. The work scheduled for this summer includes doors and hardware work, boiler replacement, and electrical, plumbing and fire alarm upgrades at Haven, Washington, Orrington, Kingsley, Walker and Dawes schools.
Dr. Brown said the bids came in about $250,000 higher than estimates made some time ago, but added that the scope of the work was increased after the estimates were made. One addition is the “networking of boilers” which will provide energy management, which Committee member Andy Pigozzi said was a “huge” improvement.
“We are very happy to bring forward these low bids,” said Dr. Brown.
After paying outstanding amounts due for the life/safety and building work completed to date, Dr. Brown said there would be about $30,000 left from the proceeds of the $20 million in bonds issued by the District in 2006 and 2007. She said $7.5 million was used for technology and $12.5 million for life/safety and building repairs.
She said the $10 million in proceeds from bonds issued earlier this year would be used to pay for the building work this summer and $1 million would be used for technology in the spring of 2010. Going forward, she estimates the District will need $4 million for building work in the summer of 2010 and $1.8 million in the summer of 2011.
In line with prior discussions, the Board will be asked to approve the issuance of additional bonds to pay for the cost of this work.
On a related note, Dr. Brown said the administration is soliciting bids from firms to prepare a facilities study, which will assess the capacity of each school building, and they are also soliciting bids from demographers who can project student enrollment at each school. It is contemplated the Board will use this information in making decisions about how to address overcrowding at schools as well as other issues. See article “D65 School Board to Retain Consultant to Study Wide Range of ‘Momentous’ Issues,” in the Jan. 21, 2009 issue of the RoundTable.